New Urban MAESTRO project to explore urban design governance

Urban spaces

A new European Commission backed project will explore formal and informal ways of improving the quality of urban spaces in cities across Europe. 

Urban MAESTRO looks at the ways European cities are being designed and financed, focusing on innovative ways of generating and implementing urban spatial quality.

The project is an initiative of a small consortium compromising The United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), University College London (UCL) and the Brussels "Bouwmeester Maître Architecte" (BMA), supported by the European Commission.

The project will focus on the "soft power" modalities of urban design governance and those approaches where public authorities act in a semi-formal or informal capacity as enablers or brokers rather than through regulatory or direct investment powers.

To kick off the research phase of project, a survey has been launched to map the current design governance landscape of different states across Europe, focusing on informal (non-statutory) urban design governance approaches and tools.  

Such approaches and tools might include peer-review mechanisms, design competitions, publication of guidance, architectural centres, education initiatives, successful partnerships, research by design, city architects, and so on. The project is also interested in financial instruments that facilitate a focus on design quality.

All survey participants will become a part of a bigger community and will be invited to contribute to the forthcoming Urban MAESTRO workshops in 2020, as well as get access to the results of the complete survey. 

The deadline for the survey is 30 April 2019. To take the survey or find out more, click here